Diane Sawyer Newsletter/Blog #34 March-April, 2017

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Hello to all my loyal newsletter readers. Thank you for reading this edition, # 34 and many of the editions that preceded it. A special thank-you to everyone—staff, volunteers, docents, visitors, and friends—at the Dali Museum here in St. Petersburg, where I have been a docent for 15 years. They recently welcomed me as a Guest Speaker in the museum theater. Before, during, and after my one-hour presentation on stage “Where do stories come from?” based on my 6 novels and 30+ short stories, (plus many anecdotes), I was treated like a celebrity. Two assistants helped with the microphone and battery pack, filmed the event, took photos of my books, set up a book-signing table in the museum store after the presentation, and even carried my books to the car at the end of the performance. Many employees and volunteers stopped by to wish me the best. They have all been working so hard for the Frida Kahlo Exhibit, but they made time for me and I appreciate it. A special thank-you to Curator of Education, Peter Tush, for overseeing every aspect of the event. Many in the audience were delighted to find out that my most recent novel, The Tell-Tale Treasure, a cold-case missing-person story, set in St. Petersburg, features a scene that takes place at the Dali Museum. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, so let me just say that several paintings inspire the heroine to…

Oops. Time to move on and show the book covers.

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Montauk Mystery Montauk Steps Tomoka Mystery Cinderella MurdersMontauk Cave

 The Tell-Tale Treasure, paperback and e-book, is available on the Southern Yellow Pine Publishing site: www.syppublishing.com

It is also available on Amazon.com as well as Barnes & Noble.com

In addition, Amazon’s author’s page has information about all 6 of my novels. Please go to   https://www.amazon.com/author/dianewsawyer. Visit my web site at   http://www.dianewsawyer.com   Thank you, Roy Baker, friend, web designer, and photographer, for setting up my web site and including my newsletters.    Find me on Facebook as Monica Sawyer (The famous name Diane Sawyer was not available.) https://www.facebook.com/monica.sawyer.50

THIS AND THAT

Today, I would like to include a short-short story I composed a year or so ago on the spot in a writing class here in St. Petersburg (I think ten minutes was allowed). It might shed some light on who is in charge of a story, in this case, the writer of mysteries or her imagination which insists on something different.

“You again?” I asked my muse, Miss Know-It-All, when I awoke this morning. There she was perched on the footboard of my bed, watching me. I sat up and immediately began a series of stretching exercises.

“Of course it’s me,” she said. “You’re stuck in a repetitive mode, but you won’t admit it.”

“I’m not stuck,” I said, giving her a beady-eyed look.  “I love mysteries. I read mysteries. I write mysteries. Why can’t you live with that? Why do you insist on change?”

“Because when you’re with friends, you’re funny. You make people laugh. You should be writing light-hearted comedies, not mysteries. Your heroine Rosie would love to be in a comedy. Who better to write her funny adventures than you? With any luck, one of those female directors will scoop up your work the minute you type in the final period, close your eyes, and laugh out loud at Rosie’s crazy antics.

“You really think so?” I asked and held my elbows on my knees for a count of thirty.

“Yes, it’s a no-brainer. Just describe your real adventures in foreign countries. Those crazy things that happened, the funny things people said to you. Forget all the research in musty old books. Who cares when the Temple of Jackals was built?”

“Jaguars, not jackals, Miss Know-It-All,” I cut in.

“Jackals, jaguars. Same difference.” She waved away my objections.

I laughed. “Why don’t you write it yourself?”

“Well, that’s what I’ve been doing all along. You actually think you’ve been doing them on your own?’ She cackled and slapped her bony knee. “It’s been me, always me, watching you write, you getting all the glory, the book-signing, all of it. I want a few laughs every now and then. Is that too much to ask?”

“No,” I said. “We could give it a try.”

“We?” She smiled. “I knew you’d come around to my way of thinking.”

“So when do we begin?” I asked.

“Right now. I put a few joke books on your desk, to get you in shape.”

“Thanks, Miss Know-It-All. Now go take a nap and let me get some writing done.”

“Okay,” She pointed a gnarled finger at me. “But laugh out loud for me right here and now.”

“Sure,” I said. I stood up, rotated my shoulders, threw back my head, and bellowed with laughter.

“Don’t you feel great?” she asked.

“I do,” I said, surprised, and thought maybe she had the right idea. But as I headed to my desk and computer, I figured out how to get my heroine Rosie out of that small prison room where she was left with no water, no food, no light, no phone, and almost no hope. Her only companions were an old mattress and chair.

Comedy? No way. It’s not for me, I thought. I had people to save, mysteries to solve, satisfaction to enjoy—come hell or high water, or an occasional hold-up, home-invasion, or 911 call to the police as a stranger came through the window. Of course. I snapped my fingers. Just like that, I now knew what do.

Rosie piled the mattress on the chair, reached up and pulled open the air-conditioning grill, crawled inside, inched her way to the next opening, kicked open the grill and jumped down into the darkened living room. When the bad guy came to investigate the noise, she tripped him. She brought him to his knees with a mixture of kung fu and karate, and had him tied up in fifty-two seconds flat. Then she met up with her handsome romantic interest in time for a nightcap at the hottest new nightclub in town.

I sighed. Ah, mystery solved. I’ll stick to mystery and Miss Know-It-All can take the day off and quit nagging me.

TRAVEL + PLUS COOKING DELIGHTS

I am calling this episode “FAST FOOD”

This is not my usual travel news about a foreign country with lots of cultural information to allow you a bird’s-eye view of an unusual place with many details about the cultural heritage. Instead, this is a story set in Orlando, Florida, only two hours away, at my daughter-in-law and son’s home. The reason for the gathering was to celebrate Mother’s Day. Four mothers were present. All 10 of us were related. So, this is perhaps a family story, and the personality of that family when they are together and the unexpected happens. My son Kirk, a college professor, was away in Peru with 3 other engineers, for a project to help the local people. My daughter-in-law, Lin, took on the huge project of entertaining all 10 of us, with help from her two sons (that would be my perfect grandsons, Colin and Cael). She ordered the food at a local Italian restaurant. As we were arriving—my daughter Barrie, son-in-law Lou, and their daughter Sonia (my perfect granddaughter), and Lin’s parents were arriving, Colin and Cael were pulling into the driveway with the food.

Not all of the food. Only some of the food.

It turns out that the owner of the restaurant helped set the food in the back of the van. He moved a broom slightly to make room for the food. Apparently the broom touched the lock and the door was not locked tight. No icon appeared on the dashboard of the car. No unusual noises gave any hint of trouble. The boys took off and headed home. Suddenly, the back door opened, and WHAM! BANG! the pasta flew out of the van and landed in the street! The boys called home and explained to Mom what happened. She explained to the guests.

The guests gathered around and greeted the boys with, “At least the chicken parm is all here! And so is the eggplant parm!” Cheers erupted. Everyone gathered at the stove to boil pots of water for spaghetti and penne. The meal was fantastic and everyone enjoyed themselves.

I love my family. No one panics. No one points a finger of blame. Heck no! “Bon appétit!” and “Bravo!” filled the dining room and we all had a wonderful meal. From now on when I hear or see the words “Fast Food,” this memorable event will surely unfold right before my eyes.

The Mother’s Day cards and presents were nice too!

 

COOKING DELIGHTS

Here’s a lovely salad for a hot summer’s day.

Yellow Rice Salad

Ingredients:

1 8-oz package yellow rice

1 ¼ cups water

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups whole kernel corn (use frozen corn), defrosted

3-5 tablespoons lime juice; 1 tsp ground cumin; 1 tsp chili powder

1 red pepper chopped; 2 tomatoes diced; 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Boil rice, according to package directions in water with olive oil.

When rice cools, add remaining ingredients, and stir.

Bon appétit!!

Fondly, Diane

 

 

@ Copyright 2017 by Diane Sawyer. All rights reserved.

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